The BBC is to trial the delivery of the World Cup live to audiences in Ultra HD and HDR.

The trial will see all 29 of BBC One’s World Cup matches available in Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) on BBC iPlayer – but fans should grab their seats early as there are a limited number of spaces available for each game.

The BBC said the trial will be available to tens of thousands of people to watch on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Ultra HD stream will be available from the BBC iPlayer home screen as soon as programme coverage begins until the trial is full for that match.

The BBC will use the Hybrid Log-Gamma version of HDR it invented with Japanese broadcaster, NHK. The BBC said it provides improved picture quality not only to HDR Ultra HD devices, but to the vast majority of Standard Dynamic Range Ultra HD devices too.

The BBC will also offer live coverage of all 33 BBC matches from Russia through the dedicated BBC Sport VR – FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 app, which will launch soon for free on Apple, Android, Gear VR, Oculus Go and PlayStation VR.

Anyone with a smartphone or compatible VR headset can open the app and find themselves inside a private box in a Russian stadium. If there’s a game on, they can head over to the box’s giant viewing window and look out onto the pitch from their BBC Sport sofa.

From here, audiences can access a range of live match stats that pop-up from the virtual coffee table, or they can switch their view and choose to sit behind either one of the goals to get up-close to the action. And when there’s no game taking place, fans can watch a daily highlights package and other on-demand content on one of the virtual big screen TVs available in other areas of the private box.

Matthew Postgate, BBC Chief Technology & Product Officer, said: “The BBC has brought major live broadcasting breakthroughs to UK audiences throughout the history of the World Cup. From the very first tournament on TV in 1954 and England’s finest hour in 1966, to the first colour World Cup in 1970 and full HD in 2006. Now, with these trials we’re giving audiences yet another taste of the future.”

Staff Reporter

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